ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

Lying McLierson and the Lying Liefaces —

So, browsing around on Google’s new “Products” section, I found this little guy: (Webcitation)

The original link is here but I don’t expect it to stick around.

What’s going on is a nice store is selling copies of the BBS Documentary. And by “copies”, I mean “copies” like you get with a couple of DVD-ROM burners and a half an hour. I can’t imagine this person is buying copies from me and then selling them at a markup. I CAN imagine he’s selling them at a markup, whatever they are; his webpage claims the “list price” is $70, which is news to me, and that you’re getting it at a bargain for $49. Meanwhile, my site sells them at $40 and you can get an autograph besides.

The description on the page is a direct copy and paste from the Wikipedia entry about my BBS Documentary, including the “[1]” reference tag which doesn’t work on his page. Of course.

Can I “do” something about this? Well, basically what I’m doing now, which is making fun of this corncob for duping unsuspecting folks that they might get a professionally printed package when it’s obvious they’re going to get three DVD-R dual-layer disks and a pat on the ass. The Creative Commons license I put them under makes what he’s doing not only “legal” but encouraged. The whole point of Creative Commons is that I don’t get a say in this sort of stuff, and I can’t spontaneously change my mind about how I released it before, just because something “new” comes to me later, like a sense of regret or capitalism.

I am reminded of my time at Psygnosis when we would get a strange tech support call for a game not officially out yet. What we’d have on the phone would be someone who bought, as in went into a store and bought, a tarted-up copy of a demo program we’d put out on a magazine or online service or whatever. You’d have the 3-level demo out there to get attention, and people would take that demo, put it into an amazingly nice-looking sleeve, and sell it for $10. Now, naturally it would say “This is a demo” on it, but it would be buried in the graphics and wonder and kissy-kissy on the back of the sleeve, so some people would think they were getting a bargain. And then it would stop working, and we’d get a call.

Of course, I could be wrong, and am besmirching one of the finest videogame establishments in Wyoming, by implying they’re duping DVD-ROMs when in fact they’re merely selling it at a 25% markup. If so, I’m sorry, assholes.

Merry Christmas.

Update: This entry was titled Stealy McStealerson and the Stealing Stealfaces, but my little joke fell on clever ears, who pointed out that even jokingly using the term “steal” with Creative Commons implies I don’t understand it, which I assure you I do. I have since made it more accurate (but less funny). Thanks to everyone concerned about my mental state.

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  1. peterb says:

    While I’m glad I bought my BBS documentary from you and not from these guys, I’m not sure why you think they deserve mockery for, y’know, doing what the license that you chose encourages.

    I mean, there may be mockery that’s appropriate here but, uh, you might want to target it a little closer to home.

  2. phoenix says:

    they do deserve mockery. just below the bbs documentary is amiga forever 2006 premium edition, which they “list” for $99.99 and sell for an amazing bargain price of $79.99. by the way, themselves sell it for $49.95.

  3. peterb says:

    I’m sure your stinging mockery is making them cry bitter tears all the way to the bank.

    Look, I’m not terribly interested in the misdeeds of people who are obviously out to make easy money off of suckers. Bad people are bad people. No argument here.

    I also, believe it or not, don’t really have a problem with mockery and/or shining a light on cockroaches by you, phoenix, or by me, or by other third parties.

    What I do think is a bit tawdry, however, is Jason putting out his work under a certain license and then bitching when people take him at his word (his use of the word “steal” is particularly ironic here).

    I’ve seen him respond to other people, notably filesharers, with a bit more grace. For example, it would have been perfectly appropriate (in my book) for Jason to have mentioned these guys, point out that people can buy the work for less money directly from the author, and leave it at that.

    Jason, of course, isn’t the only licensor to act with this sort of churlishness. We’ve seen an encyclopedia’s worth of bitching from people who licensed their software under LGPL or GPLv2 only to be shocked, shocked, that corporate users were then making use of the software in a way that fully and completely complied with the terms of the license.

    Just so no one understands me: of course Jason has the right to speak about this in any way he chooses. I’m just saying that in my opinion the particular words he chose were silly.

    If his bed is lumpy, he should blame the person who made it.

  4. peterb says:

    Gah. Just so no one misunderstands me. Must…have…coffee….

  5. Tyger says:

    The only use of the word “steal” is in the topic, which is obviously exaggerated.

    He never said they don’t have full authorization to do exactly what they’re doing, he’s just pointing out that they are being slimy and lame.

  6. jbr says:

    I think a better title for this blog post would’ve been “Liar McLiarson”. The film was released as Creative Commons, so no theft is really taking place here.

    But to imply that this product’s list price is “69.99” and that potential customers will “Save 30 Today!” is, well, an outright lie. When did this ever list for $69.99?

    The fact you can buy it cheaper from rape-you-in-the-face is also quite telling. Really weird.

  7. Jason Scott says:

    I’ve improved the title, thanks to everyone who was concerned.